Chickens: What is the difference between fryers, broilers and stewers?

We have some variety of fresh chicken this week so here is a quick cheat sheet.  What is the difference between fryers, broilers, roasters and stew birds?

Stewing Chickens—the easy one.

Stew Hen on its way towards Chicken & Dumplings

Stew birds are usually laying hens that have passed their prime. They are older and their meat is usually tougher and more stringy. This type of chicken is best used in stews and soups where the meat has time to break down during the long, moist cooking.  Many love them for chicken and dumplings and wonderfully flavored soups. More thoughts: The Stewing Hen , a culinary bonus


Fryers, Broilers and Roasters

The terms for these different kinds of chickens tend to get tossed about and used interchangeably in recipes and articles.

  • Broilers: Chickens 6-8 weeks old and weighing about 2 1/2 pounds

    Roasted Chicken

  • Fryers: Chickens 6-8 weeks old and weighing 2 1/2 – 3 1/2 pounds
  • Roasters: Chickens  3-4 months old weighing over 4 lb.

Broilers, fryers, and roasters can be used interchangeably based on how much meat you think you’ll need. They are young chickens raised for their meat, so they are fine to use for anything from poaching to roasting. You may need to adjust cooking times based on what the recipe called for and the size of your chicken.